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Rutgers’ next OC: The FBS/FCS stretch choices

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We lost Drew Mehringer, which might not be so bad. But who do you bring in to coach up the 128th rated offense in FBS?

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Maryland Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports

With the departure of Drew Mehringer, Chris Ash is looking for a new Offensive Coordinator. To a lot of fans of the Scarlet, it is a search that is about two months overdue.

Ash showed, in creating his first staff, that he relies heavily off of personal recommendations for staff as well as personal friendships that he has developed. But at some point, one might need to go outside the normal circle, outside the comfort zone.

One of the complaints that people had with Mehringer was that he was learning on the fly. People asked why Ash didn’t find an experienced play caller to fill that seat around the staff meeting table. So, who should he consider as he looks to replace Mehringer? How about some experienced offensive coordinators?

We looked at the teams that are among the best offenses in both FBS and FCS. We didn’t consider P5 staffs, feeling that would really be a stretch. We then considered teams that were somewhat geographically within Rutgers’ sphere of influence. In other words, we didn’t consider coaches on the west coast or the south, even if they had ties to Rutgers or the east coast. This is what we found.

FBS Offensive Coordinators

Brian Wright, Toledo Wright just finished his first year as the Rocket’s OC. He directed the No. 4 offense in FBS, behind just Texas Tech, Louisville, and Oklahoma, averaging over 500 yards/game. I know, it’s a MAC school. But 500 yards! And consider this headline from KSL.com early in the season:

Undefeated Toledo rolls at BYU with staggering offense, defense

It was up tempo. I’m buying.

Tyson Helton, Western Kentucky WKU is going bowling and its OC leads the No. 7 offense in FBS. Again, over 500 yards/game and 70 TDs. He’s been with the Hilltoppers since 2014 (time to move) and worked under Tommy Tuberville at Cincinnati, too. Primarily a QB and RB coach, he also coached the Patriots’ Stephan Gostkowski at Memphis.

Tony Franklin, Middle Tennessee No one is confusing Middle Tennessee State with Tennessee, but Franklin still put up gaudy numbers with the Blue Raiders. With 60 TDs and 515 yards/game, he’s worth looking at. He was only at MTSU for a year, but prior to that he coached Jared Goff at Cal under Sonny Dykes. He’s also coached in the P5 at Kentucky and Auburn.

Tony Peterson, East Carolina Want Big Ten experience? Got it. Petersen coached at the University of Minnesota from 1999 to 2006 where he was co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. At ECU, the Pirates had the No. 30 offense in the nation in 2016, averaging 467 yards/game and putting up 5.85 yards/play.

FCS Offensive Coordinators

Donnie Kirkpatrick, James Madison The Dukes put up 532 yards/game and 77 offensive TDs. Over 3,000 passing yards and and almost ten yards/attempt. But those numbers only put JMU at No. 36 in FCS passing. On the ground, they were No. 4 with 48 rushing TDs and almost six yards/carry. Kirkpatrick is only finishing year one in Harrisonburg so he might not want to move. He spent three years as OC at Louisville in the late 90’s and was head man at Chattanooga for three. A veteran might be nice to have around.

Tyler Bowen, Fordham Joe Moorhead was the head coach at Fordham before he left this past season to become OC at Penn State. And we all know how the Franklinites did in 2016. But in Moorhead’s last year, Bowen was his OC and continued this past season in the post. The Rams had the 12th best rushing offense in FCS, the 18th best passing attack, and the fourth overall best offense. With 56 TDs and just under 500 yards/game, this former GA at Maryland brings something. He’s young but he’s not a novice.

Drew Folmar, Lehigh With 63 offensive TDs and 483 yards/game, the Mountain Hawks under Folmar ranked No. 6 in FCS total offense. A native Pennsylvanian - think recruiting - Folmar just completed his third year in Bethlehem.

James Perry, Princeton At No. 28 in total offense, the Tigers may not jump out as a viable place to look for an OC. But 415 yards of offense is nothing to sneeze at and Perry currently recruits New Jersey, Maryland and DC for Princeton. He’s a graduate of Brown and has coached at Delaware and in the Ivies.

Thoughts

I don’t think that Ash is that predictable. He could go in any direction for his next OC. I don’t think running the spread is critical; I do think understanding situations and play-calling are. I’d like to see experience and a little maturity, something Mehringer didn’t have. Someone who knows the New Jersey-Pennsylvania-Maryland corridor wouldn’t hurt, either.

What are your thoughts? Anybody here strike your fancy? Where does Ash turn for his newest hire?